York Green Party

Cambridge plan "shows up grey nature of Heslington East"

17 August 2012

The University of York's Heslington East project is a total disappointment as sustainable development.

A new development on farmland owned by the University of Cambridge shows up the shortcomings of University of York's Heslington East development, according to Green councillor Andy D'Agorne. The University of York has been dropping rapidly down the People and Planet Green League Tables in recent years, dropping from 48th in 2010 to 83th in 2011 to 126th in 2012.

The Cambridge plan has just been granted outline planning permission, and will provide 3000 homes, 2000 student bed-spaces and workspace. Unlike the University of York's expansion, the Cambridge development will include 50% of the housing as affordable provision for university key workers, a range of community facilities including a primary school, health centre, open space, allotments and innovative waste collection system plus a site-wide combined heat and power district heating scheme.

Cllr D'Agorne said "The absence of any solar panels on the York campus contrasts dramatically with the statement in the energy strategy for Cambridge University that 'PV has very few limitations and could be installed on the roofs of all buildings".

In the energy strategy for the Cambridge site, biomass is described as not suitable 'due to air quality concerns, lack of heat load diversification, and plant space requirements' while PV (solar panels) 'could be installed on the roofs of all buildings'. In contrast the University of York is developing a plan to provide the 10% of its energy demand from biomass burners.

The Cambridge energy strategy states "Whilst not renewable, gas fired CHP is estimated to result in carbon savings of 18% in all non-domestic buildings across the proposed development. A further 20% saving will then be made through the application of predominantly, PV, solar thermal and heat pumps when aggregated across all buildings. This means that some buildings will achieve more than 20% renewables and some less". Approximately 50% of the roof area of dwellings will be covered in PV.

"Given what is being achieved by Cambridge here, there is no excuse for the business park that Heslington East will be. The university's low aspirations have been shown in stark relief" said Councillor D'Agorne.

Notes -

    Read the Guardian's Green University League on the guardian website
    The Cambridge planning application is available at http://idox.cambridge.gov.uk/online-applications

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